Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming “Wow, What a Ride!”

Monday, June 24, 2013

i love to sing~ do you?

one my favorite things to do is sing- not the popular songs on the radio or top 10 charts; but songs I make up for a particular moment using music of another song but with my own words. Not saying that I don’t get a popular song in my head and end up chanting it over and over until I scream to stop or another catchy tune, usually one of my own pops in its place. I love creating little ditty's especially for our canine and feline family members. Every one has had their own special song- just theirs. The other types of songs are usually funny little limericks or poems that strike my imagination at the time or event. The most recent was at the supermarket and about coffee beans to the tune of  "this little light of mine."

A young girl, maybe three or four, heard my “personal” ditty’s and got excited, exclaiming to her father- “Daddy, see that lady sings in the store, I’m not bad.” He looked at me with a frown which I couldn’t determine if it was for me…giving his daughter proof that people do sing in public, or that it was obvious that HE made singing in public  a “no-no” action for his daughter” and was an ass for doing so…and he knew it. His response answered my questioning gaze- “That lady is retarded and if you want everyone to think you are a moron, then, go ahead and sing.” ~whose the moron?

I sent the little one a wink and smile, and quickly made up a song about a grumpy ogre. Not sure if he was finished shopping in that particular section, but I can say I have never seen a cart disappear down the aisle so quickly.  I hope that little girl always wants to sing, singing is wonderful.

I took a vocals class with a good friend, Connie, years ago and remember reading about how singing helps harmonize our chakras with the world and the divine.

Singing is an act of vibration. It takes music from the realm of the unformed-- whether that is in our mind or from that magical space of inspiration--and moves it from within to without. From the first breath singing moves the energy in a circular way inside your body. As the breath fills your lungs, it brushes against the second and third chakras—the centers of creation and honoring self and others. Instead of merely exhaling, pushing the air past the fourth and fifth chakras where heart chakra and the center of will and intention reside, singing engages both the heart and mind. Sound vibrations from vocal chords resonate in the sinus cavities, filling the head with motion and sound while the brain lights up with the processing of the mathematics of music. This marriage of activities brings the third eye into play and opens the door for inspiration from the crown chakra before sending the sound out into the world.

Once the vibration begins, it is sustained with each note, moving throughout your body and the space around you. This can help you to harmonize your frequency with the world and with the divine. The use of the voice can bring about catharsis, a cleansing from the expression of emotion, which is why we feel better after singing certain types of songs. All of this occurs even if we are not conscious of what we are singing, but when we really connect with an intention, the power of the voice and music together are powerful tools in creation.

Even if you are not a singer by nature or talent, you are not left out. If you have a voice, it is your birthright to celebrate life with song. It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel you have a nice voice. Chanting or humming, singing solo or with others, your voice is yours to enjoy. Whether you sing along to the radio or use vocalization as part of your meditation time, singing and harmonizing are healing activities that bring your body’s vibrations into alignment with the universe.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

meal ideas~ yum-yummies...

Black Forest Cake Roll
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, loosen the edges of the cake from the pan with a flat knife and turn it onto a cocoa-coated towel. Rolling the cake in a towel prevents the cake from sticking to itself when rolled, while the cocoa powder prevents the cake from sticking to the towel. The cake roll's luscious filling is made with light cream cheese, light whipped topping, and maraschino cherries.  MAKES: 10 servings: 1 slice CARBS: 30

4 eggs
1/3 cup  flour
1/4 cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon  baking soda
1/4 teaspoon  salt
3/4 cup  granulated sugar
Unsweetened cocoa powder
1 recipe Cherry Cream Filling (below)
1 tablespoon hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed
10 maraschino cherries, drained and patted dry

1. Allow eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper; grease and lightly flour paper. Set pan aside. In a small bowl stir together flour, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, the baking soda, and salt; set

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl beat eggs with an electric mixer on high speed for 5 minutes. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until thick and lemon colored. Fold in flour mixture. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.

3. Bake about 15 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Immediately loosen edges of cake from pan and turn cake out onto a towel sprinkled with unsweetened cocoa powder. Slowly peel off parchment paper. Starting from a short side, roll up towel and cake into a spiral. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Meanwhile, prepare Cherry Cream Filling.

4. Unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cake with Cherry Cream Filling to within 1 inch of edges. Roll up cake and filling into a spiral. Trim ends. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours before serving. If desired, just before serving, drizzle whole cake with ice cream topping and garnish with cherries. Makes 10 (1 slice each) servings

Cherry Cream Filling
1/2 cup  tub-style light cream cheese
1 cup  frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed
2/3 cup  maraschino cherries

1. In a small bowl beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add 1/2 cup dessert topping; beat on low speed until just combined. Fold in another 1/2 cup dessert topping. Drain, stem, and pat dry maraschino cherries. Chop cherries and fold into cream cheese mixture.

Cherry-Ginger Upside-Down Cake
Cherries take center stage in this elegant low-fat cake that's flavored with both crystallized and ground ginger. MAKES: 10 serving CARBS: 34

1 1/2 cups  frozen unsweetened pitted dark sweet cherries, thawed and drained
1 1/4 cups  all-purpose flour
2/3 cup  white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
2 - 3 teaspoons  finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons  baking powder
1/2 teaspoon  ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon  salt
3/4 cup  fat-free milk
1/2 cup  2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup  packed brown sugar
1/4 cup  canola oil
Powdered sugar (optional)
Chopped crystallized ginger (optional)
Fresh mint leaves (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x1-1/2-inch round cake pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper and lightly grease the paper. Arrange cherries in bottom of the cake pan; set side. In a large bowl, stir together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, 2 to 3 teaspoons crystallized ginger, baking powder, ground ginger, and salt. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, brown sugar, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture; stir just until combined. Spoon batter into prepared pan over cherries, spreading evenly.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of the pan to loosen side of cake. Invert cake onto a serving plate. Remove parchment paper.

4. If desired, sprinkle warm cake with powdered sugar, additional crystallized ginger, and/or mint leaves just before serving.

Peanut Butter Blossom Mini Cakes
MAKES: 20 servings: 1 mini cake: 81 cals. CARBS: 9

Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup  flour
3 tablespoons  ground lightly salted peanuts
1 teaspoon  baking powder
1/4 cup  creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup  sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon  vanilla
1/4 cup  fat-free milk
1 recipe Chocolate Frosting (below)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat twenty 1-3/4-inch muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper bake cups; set aside. In a small bowl combine flour, ground peanuts, and baking powder; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl beat peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar; beat on medium speed until well combined. Beat in egg and vanilla. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to peanut butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Spoon 1 tablespoon batter into each prepared muffin cup.

3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. While cakes are still warm, press the back of a measuring teaspoon into tops of cakes to flatten the tops. Cool cakes in muffin cups on wire rack for 5 minutes; remove cakes from cups. Cool completely.

4. Place Chocolate Frosting in a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe one large star atop each cake. Makes 20 (1 mini cake each) servings.

Chocolate Frosting
1/3 cup  butter
1/3 cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups  powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons  vanilla
1 - 2 tablespoons  milk
1. In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat, stirring constantly. Add cocoa powder and stir until combined. Remove from heat. Slowly beat in powdered sugar, vanilla and enough milk (1 to 2 tablespoons) to make a creamy consistency. Makes about 1 cup frosting.

note: the sugar and egg in of all of these recipes can be exchanged for a diabetic friendly/low carb substitute. Follow package directions to use product amount equivalent to recipe.

to print these recipes, there is a print icon at the top of the side-bar.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

some friends of the ranch

okay… this is where I sit at the computer, scrolling through all the photos taken over the recent visit to AWR and suddenly my mind screams out…. “omg! just how many photographs did you take…and isn’t there a law as to a limit?” ha! Yes, Mr. Bill, she took so many it may take weeks to siphon through all of them. Now the easy part, separating the Wildlife from the Ranch and so forth; so, with that thought and insufficient amount on time I have this Sunday morning, here are a few wildlife shots in and around Aspen Willow Ranch.

We do have a mountain lion, which thankfully we did not see (however Jim did track her during the winter as she criss-crossed both of our properties, and graciously left the horses alone- whew, which is one reason we don’t put the babies on our ranch in the summer) and there is a beautiful bobcat, who I would have loved to cross paths with, but did not. She most likely has her cubs hidden. On the boring note, it mainly was chipmunks, deer, and birds that were in my lenses’ view.

"If I can't see you ,you can't see me-ha!" There were two beautiful ladies that hung around close to the MC that still had their winter woollies on, as well looks like they both are getting ready to fawn some little ones. I think they will deliver under the cabin's decking, which is not unusual. I did not see any fauns this year, so the Doe's and their fauns may be running late, as was the spring in arriving.
of course, I had to get the traditional wildlife "butt shot."

this is "Chester" a friend of Jesse's actually, for real. It is the only rabbit that jesse ever chose not to chase. we know Chester by his rather odd lack of a fuffy tail, think he had a near miss and left it behind in someone's jaws. Chester is huge, I would guess at least 12 pounds. 

the fun thing about this little guy was the he had a heap of devoured pine cones in his little area. not sure the picture on the right really shows how deep, but the reddish brown burying the juniper is all his rubbish.

I was very excited to find this Blue Bird, they are getting extremely rare in Colorado...and, I know this mushroom is not a fauna...but I do love them and found this one to be beautiful.

last but not least, it was fun watching the little finches hopping in and around Breeze's hoofs as she ate the grass, it took me a couple of minutes to realize that they were getting the "bugs" that were disturbed by Breeze as she pulled up and munched the grass. it is a symbiotic friendship for sure.
coming next… the T&V's class 2013 colts, and the little filly, my sweet Hope
remember, you can double click on any picture to enlarge for a better view.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

We're home-

 We’re back. Aspen Willow Ranch was beautiful, green and full of budding flowers, the aspen’s were still getting their leaves, it was fun watching them grow and fill the limbs daily.

One of the first things we did was to go over the T&V Stables to see all the little ones; pictures to come, still gathering them off the cameras. I also, for the first time, helped Jim and Eileen walk the three mares that will be staying at our ranch this year. Babe and Zilla, of course wouldn’t be going due to their having Hope and Cody who need to be with their moms for at least six months. 

Breeze, Whisper, and Glady are the beautiful mares staying with us, and...they also are going to be moms in the spring. Breeze, has been to our ranch before, she was the one who eloped back to her home ranch last year after Babe sort of picked on her, bullying for stall, grass, and feed priority- ha! This year she is with her best buddy, Whisper. It is really hard to tell the two apart, except that Whisper has a spot of white on her back right hoof. I remember it by thinking Whisper has a whisper of white that Breese does not. Glady is also a friend to the other two and the three took to the ranch immediately exploring everywhere the afternoon they arrived. It was fun hearing their hoof beats rumble from the southern end of the ranch, through the forest and up to the barn area as dusk approached. Here are a couple of photos, more to come, chiefly of the babies, and a fun video.

Walking down the road between the ranches, about 2 miles. 
Glady, Breeze, and Whisper in the back.

Steve took this picture, he wanted to show me just how big Glady was compared to me.
she may have been big, but she is so gentle and we bonded right away
Whisper saying "holy horse piles- look at all this scrumptious grass"
Breeze enjoying the morning sun peeking over the tops of the trees
 while Glady enjoys a quick breakfast snack, see her beautiful coloring in the sunlight.

as far as the caterpillars....? they were just starting to appear the day we were leaving. Steve is going back out this coming weekend for his annual Pillar Hunt with shotgun in hand. :( I won't let him spray the trees, so this is his only I think he really enjoys.

these little guys can devastate an aspen tree before they cocoon and become moths.  Not sure how much of a dent Steve put into the population...but anything helps.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

colorado adventures ahead~

Heading off to Colorado, Journey will be offline for a few days while we bring our summer equine friends from T & V stables over to the ranch, find and repair any winter damage (I.e- trees down and fences tangled by the deer/elk), search and destroy those pesky caterpillars that are causing havoc munching on our Aspen Trees (Steve's project), relocate those adorable yearlings "the bears" back to their homeland stomping grounds (my project)...then, maybe, just maybe, we'll get in some quite relaxation time to enjoy the spring thunderstorms at Aspen Willow Ranch.

The hardest part will be missing Jesse, 
but I know he will be there with me in spirit
~ won't you my friend.

healthy living ~ GMO’s have potential health risks

GMO’s~ I absolutely abhor anytime that we, humans, take what nature gives us and “dick around” with it… this is a subject I could carry on for hours- I think it is an important subject that everyone needs to do some research on- serious research, and come to their own conclusions.

To get you started, here is some basic information:

Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are any living thing that has had its genetic material altered in some way through human scientific interference. This does not refer to “selective breeding,” such as when certain crops are selectively bred by gardeners over time to withstand heat, for instance, or the process by which different dog breeds were developed over time. Instead, GMOs undergo a form of gene therapy under lab conditions whereby segments of DNA are spliced, rearranged or removed altogether. You may have been eating genetically modified food for years and not even know it.

In the United States, much of the corn and soybeans produced (especially those to be fed to livestock or to provide filler material in processed foods at the supermarket) contain some portion of genetically modified material. From cereal and crackers to baking mixes, veggie burgers, and even milk and cheese, GMOs have infiltrated our grocery aisles largely without much study into their long-term health effects on our bodies. However, The Environmental Working Group conservatively estimates that each American consumes about 190 pounds of GM foods every year despite this lack of research. Choosy consumers are worried — and getting mad and organized — about these potential health impacts:

1. Allergies
Perhaps the number one health concern over GM technology is its capacity to create new allergens in our food supply. Allergic reactions typically are brought on by proteins. Nearly every transfer of genetic material from one host into a new one results in the creation of novel proteins. Genetic engineering can increase the levels of a naturally occurring allergen already present in a food or insert allergenic properties into a food that did not previously contain them. It can also result in brand new allergens we’ve never before known.

2. Antibiotic Resistance
Genetic engineers rely heavily on antibiotics to guide experiments. It works like this: Not all host cells will take up foreign genes, so engineers attach a trait for a particular type of antibiotic resistance to the gene they introduce into host cells. After they’ve introduced the gene into the cells, they douse all the cells with the antibiotic to see which ones survive. The surviving cells are antibiotic-resistant, and therefore engineers know they have taken up the foreign gene.

Overuse of antibiotics can potentially cause the development of antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Several health organizations, including the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association, have spoken out about the need for the use of these antibiotics to be phased out of the process of making GM foods. Food Patriot Sam Spitz’ harrowing story provides a scary, precautionary warning of how antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” can affect your health.

3. Pesticide Exposure
The majority of GM crops in cultivation are engineered to contain a gene for pesticide resistance. Most are “Roundup Ready,” meaning they can be sprayed with Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide Roundup without being harmed. The idea is that if the crop itself is immune to Roundup, you can spray it to kill any weeds endangering the plant without worrying about harming your crop. Sound like a good thing? Only if increased human exposure to pesticides is a good thing. Glyphosate has been linked to numerous health problems in animal studies, among them birth defects, reproductive damage, cancer and endocrine disruption.

                                             4. Unpredictability and the Unknown
Foreign genetic material in a host can cause other genetic material in that host to behave erratically. Genes can be suppressed or over-expressed, causing a wide variety of results. One consequence of over-expression, for example, can be cancer. Nutritional problems can also result from the transfer. In one example, cows that ate Roundup Ready soybeans produced milk with more fat in it. In another example, milk from cows injected with a genetically engineered growth hormone was found by a number of researchers, including those published in the journal Lancet, to have substantially higher levels of a compound known as insulin-like growth factor-1, which is linked to human breast, colon and prostate cancers. The milk also has higher levels of bovine growth hormones in it, along with pus and sometimes antibiotics. GM crops have been linked to health problems as diverse as reproductive damage, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. Concerned scientists have been outspoken about these risks.

DNA is complex, and we have yet to understand all the potential complex interactions. The potential hazards are difficult to predict and identify immediately. Additionally, the United States regulatory system is set up to deal with problems occurring with GM foods only after they occur.

find out if GMO’s are for you and your family.

Monday, June 3, 2013

10 Thoughts on Life ~ June

1.   Life is at its most intriguing and mysterious when it's in flux.
2.   Change doesn't happen with a single action but with a series of small gestures.
3.   Making real, lasting change is like plowing a path. The more you use it, the easier it gets.
4.   Admit to yourself what you don't know, and you begin to evolve.

5.   It's never too late to take the first step toward your aspirations.
6.   Each transition is an opportunity to look at who you are -- and where you're headed.
7.   Don't let fear of the unknown hold you back from making a change.
8.   The desire for change shows up in your body as well as your thoughts. Pay attention.
9.   Consider today the opportunity of a lifetime.
10. Start fresh.
"things do not change; we change"
henry david thoreau